On Tuesday, in a heated exchange on Capitol Hill, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder laid the smackdown on Texas Republican Representative Louie Gohmert for implying that Holder should be held in contempt for withholding documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. In the nearly three-and-a-half-hour-long session involving thirty-four members of Congress, it was the exchange with Gohmert which brought the day’s most dramatic fireworks.
The dialogue between the two went as follows:
Gohmert: “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general. But it is important that we have proper oversight…”
Holder: “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there.”
Gohmert: “About the contempt?”
Holder: “No. You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
Gohmert: “I don’t need lectures from you about contempt.”
Holder: “And I don’t need lectures from you either.”
This was not the first time that tensions have risen between Holder and Gohmert. Last May at a hearing regarding the Boston Marathon bombing, Gohmert attacked Holder by claiming that the Justice Department had not done enough to prevent the Boston Marathon bombing. When Holder pushed back, Gohmert gave us the now-famous quote that “the Attorney General will not cast aspersions on my asparagus” which ended up providing grade-A material for comedian Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.
On Wednesday, Holder gave a speech with prepared remarks to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. At one point of the speech, Holder felt the need to address his exchange with Louie Gohmert from the previous day and Holder chose to deviate from his speech in order to do so. Holder said that the Obama administration has “managed to succeed even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly, and divisive adversity.” He went on to say that “If you don’t believe that… you look at the way the Attorney General of the Untied States was treated yesterday by a House Committee. Had nothing to do with me, forget that. What Attorney General has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”
Holder is exactly right. The Republican Party has been doing everything in their power since day one to try and manufacture some kind of Watergate-esque scandal that could bring down the Obama Administration. They are doing so because they know that with eight successful years of Democratic policies in place, the Republican Party will be unlikely to take back the White House any time soon. They have been digging and digging for some kind of scandal and at this point the hole is so big that there is no way to return to the surface, so they continue digging deeper no matter how foolish they appear.
Here’s the current list of “impeachable” scandals that Republicans have tried to pin on the Obama Administration: Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of Conservative groups, the NSA data collecting, the tracking of Associated Press reporters, Benghazi, etc., etc. None of these have panned out, yet Republicans continue to use them to instill fear on their unwitting base of core voters. On Tuesday, Louie Gohmert was attempting to grill Eric Holder on Operation Fast and Furious which was started under George W. Bush. For Republicans, little pesky things like facts won’t get in the way of them telling their base what is and isn’t a scandal.
Holder was completely justified in reacting to Gohmert the way that he did. Along with Darrell Issa, Gohmert has based his entire political career on fear-mongering as a way to try and show how he’s the little guy going up against the evil, corrupt government. For those of us who know the facts, we can call out Gohmert for doing what he is doing. However, for Gohmert’s base, they eat it up and see him as a savior for trying to fight for the truth. Already on Fox News, Gohmert has proclaimed it wasn’t personal between himself and Holder and it’s guaranteed that he will send out a fundraising email asking for donations in the next twenty-four hours. Gohmert will use the entire incident to further his own political aspirations and he will attempt to do it at the expense of Eric Holder.
Which is way none of us feel any remorse for the way that Holder put Gohmert in his place on Tuesday afternoon.